Data center operation used to be standard procedure for many medium sized and larger businesses. The advent of Cloud computing and the “as a Service” movement it spawned has led to a plethora of service offerings like Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allowing businesses to concentrate on their own core business and leave the IT operations to the experts.
Still, it may make sense for some businesses to run their own data center, especially those IT professionals looking to start their own service provider business. This article takes a look at a few of the pros and cons of this practice.
Data Center Operations is a Good Business for Self-Starting IT Pros
Even with large Cloud services providers like Amazon and Rackspace dominating the market, there is still room for smaller players to carve out their niche in this growing business. Some companies have found success in IT-rich markets selling Cloud services to local business partners. Self-starter types looking to be their own boss, and with a wide range of IT equipment and networking experience can find running their own Cloud services company to be a rewarding process.
Some experienced technology professionals may find they appreciate the extra control they have on server and platform choices when they own their own company. Their clients also appreciate the fact that they one customer out of the one hundred or so typical for a small provider, compared to being only one of the millions of business customers of Amazon, Google, et al. Because of this, it is important for the small data center owner to focus on quality customer service in addition to their technology acumen.
Keeping Up with the Technology Joneses
Still, a small data services provider doesn’t have the R&D capital typical of the large behemoths in the industry. This makes it difficult to hold a technology advantage over these larger enterprise-level shops, especially when the principles of Economies of Scale come into play. In this case it is vital for the small operator to leverage technical insight from their technology equipment vendors when it comes to architectural best practices or even maintenance or operational advice.
This advice becomes critical when there is limited capital to play with for technical equipment and infrastructure purchases. In many cases, it is important to get those decisions right the first time, because investing too much in a dying platform could lead to a loss of customers or worse. In short, the small data center doesn’t have the budgetary leeway of their corporate giant competitors.
Ultimately, running a small data center can be both financially and professionally rewarding if the business owner successfully combines their technical knowledge with the customer facing and sales capabilities typical of a small business owner. This mixture of the business and the technical remains the hallmark of many successful technology company — big or small.
Curious about data centers? You may be interested in learning about the new NSA data center.